The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the US-based pharmaceutical company Merc Sharp & Dohme (MSD) will join hands to support the roll-out of the HPV vaccination programme in Vietnam from 2019 – 2021. (Photo: UNFPA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the US-based pharmaceutical company Merc Sharp & Dohme (MSD) will join hands to support the Ministry of Health to roll out the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programme in Vietnam from 2019 – 2021.

An agreement to this effect was signed between the two sides in Hanoi on July 24.

Addressing the signing ceremony, Deputy Director of the General Department of Preventive Medicine Nguyen Minh Hang said vaccination is an effective and popular measure to prevent infectious diseases. Thanks to vaccines and the national expanded immunization programme, many dangerous epidemics are eliminated or controlled, she noted.

“Evidence from international studies also confirms that a strategic combination of sufficient coverage of HPV vaccination for adolescent girls and sufficient coverage of cervical screening and appropriate treatment for all women can eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem within our lifetime,” said Astrid Bant, UNFPA Representative in Vietnam.

MSD Vietnam Chief Representative Koen Carel Kruijtbosch said developing vaccines that help protect public health is more than a business decision, it is a shared mission. Every day in Vietnam, seven women die from cervical cancer. This partnership between the UNFPA and the MSD hopes to address this disease burden, he added.

With a total budget of 400,000 USD, the collaboration aims to conduct evidence-based advocacy to encourage national and sub-national stakeholders to reduce the burden of HPV-related diseases and facilitate the gradual scale up of an HPV vaccination programme and the development of policies to prevent cervical cancer. 

Cervical cancer remains a major killer of women. Caused by HPV, cervical cancer claims the lives of more than 300,000 women every year, of which 85 percent live in developing countries, according to the World Health Organisation. –VNA